Every business is a shop. And what does every shop need?

Imagine this:

You’re a shopkeeper. Times are hard and you’re desperate for turnover. You’ve got things you need to sell. So what do you do?

You put them in your shop window, of course.  Obvious, eh?
window Y_2
Well, not to everybody.  When the recession’s biting and money’s tight, many businesses think the shop window is a luxury. They start cutting costs on all sides and forgetting why they exist.

Because let’s face it: there’s one key reason to be in business – and that’s to sell your goods or services.  It’s your reason for existence, and it’s why your shop window is an absolute necessity.  Ask any shopkeeper.

Just recently I’ve been talking to a few people in the advertising and marketing business, both in Kent and in London. Whether they’re industry giants or small independent agencies, there’s a common theme.

They say that when clients start to trim their outgoings, it’s the advertising and marketing budget that suffers first. There’s usually no long-term commitment to a set expenditure, so it’s easy to pull the plug and apparently save a few thousand – or a few hundred thousand.

It makes a welcome difference to the balance sheet debit column. But it’s a false economy.

In recessionary times advertising is more important than ever. When potential customers are being unusually careful about how they spend their money, you need to give them compelling reasons to spend that money with you.

And you’ll need something more compelling than just price cuts. Because (have you noticed?) anybody who is advertising right now is offering Summer Sale Prices, Money Off, Special Discounts and Great Reductions. To compete in that market you simply have to offer bigger reductions as customers gravitate to whoever is cheapest. There must be a better way of making a living.

That’s where the skill of professional marketing communications comes in.  Advertising in itself will put your goods in the shop window – and that’s a basic essential.  Good advertising will make you stand out from the competition. And that comes down to being more appealing. As we’ve seen, price alone isn’t sufficient because there’ll always be someone cheaper – until that someone is you, and you find yourself selling at a loss.

The art lies in speaking to your market in a different, original, uniquely attractive way. Naturally, price will play a part – but what’s more important is to make your audience say: “Hey – I never thought of it like that before. I’m going to look into this!”

So how is it done? Well, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s a specialist, bespoke job done by marketing and advertising professionals. In times like these, businesses aiming to do more than survive need to look to their shop windows – and get the experts in to dress them attractively.

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